ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the claims of philosophy, as well as other forms of educational inquiry, to inform or provide a 'basis' for educational policy. The best argument for the contribution that philosophy can make to educational policy in John White's own work is that body of writing that engages directly with policy issues rather than any meta-discussion. John White claims at least one success in getting consideration of educational aims reinstated in National Curriculum planning in England but, more generally, philosophers share with other educational researchers a sense that, with rare exceptions, policy-makers are really not interested in what they produce and that in practice they pay little regard to what the educational research community might have to contribute. Empirical studies of policy formation suggest that politicians rely for their ideas primarily on trusted experts and ideologically sympathetic think tanks, and that academic research sits below the media, lobbyists, constituents and consumers as a source of influence on their priorities.